Estate sale shopping strategies: Tips from the experts!

Ever wonder how people seem to find the perfect item at a great price at estate sales? Do they have a special “in” or secret? We’ve found that planning and strategy make all the difference when it comes to estate sale shopping.

Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get the most from your estate sale shopping experience:

1. Arrive early. In the busy summer season, for the best deals, you will want to arrive up to an hour prior to the sale opening time to get a place in line. Here in Nashville, it’s customary to bring a shopping bag or box to mark your place in line if you wish to wait for a bit in the comfort of your car…but get ready to line up in person as the sale time approaches.

2. Take advantage of discounts. While most sales start at full-price on the first day, the price will drop on subsequent days. If you’re looking for a real deal, head out to shop on the last day of the sale. (Hint: at Michael Taylor, we offer a 20% off code good on the FIRST day of our estate sales to email list subscribers…subscribe and save!)

3. Don’t like the price? Leave a bid. If you fall in love with an item, but the price is more than you prefer to spend…most sales offer the option to fill out a written bid form with your best price. At a certain point in the sale, the estate sale staff will evaluate unsold merchandise. If your bid meets their requirements, they will contact you by phone and let you know that you’ve got a deal!

4. Keep measurements handy. With estate sales, the time to buy it is when you see it, but knowing that a furniture piece is the right size will help you make confident buying decisions. We have tape measures available at all of our sales to help you figure out if the perfect dining room table will fit your space, but it’s best if you have the dimensions of the piece you’re looking for with you.

5. Bring a friend! Our estate sales are packed with great items. A shopping buddy can help you lift and load items, and is another set of eyes to help you find just what you’re looking for. Plus, it’s more fun to shop with a friend.

6. Shop for the opposite season. Christmas stuff is less popular in July, and we’ve got lots of lawnmowers for great prices in January. Buy for the next season, and you’ll save money for sure.

And remember…the more sales you visit, the more likely you are to find the treasure you’re looking for. Get out there and have fun…we’ll see you at the sales!

My best,

Michael Taylor and Company


Updating Your Outdoor Spaces with Estate Finds

Spring has arrived here in Nashville! It’s time to freshen up porches and patios, but how do you re-create the designer looks featured in decorating magazines?

Whether your decorating style is vintage or contemporary, we’re the experts on sourcing everything from retro garden accessories to modern outdoor seating. Here are a few ideas for using estate items to enhance your outdoor landscape…

Vintage concrete and cast iron planters add charm and curb appeal to outdoor spaces. The weathered patina of these planters lends rustic elegance to front entryways and porches. Widely available at our estate sales AND our Michael Taylor at Home gallery, they are an era-appropriate complement to historic homes, or give a touch of retro charm to new construction.

Fill them with annuals now, and switch out seasonal flowers for pumpkins and mums in the fall.

Now is the time to enjoy meals outdoors with family and friends. Add a cast-iron patio set to your patio, or a painted wood farm table to your porch. Accessorize with a vintage thermos, or 1950’s-era ice bucket. Mixing old and new is how you add a personal, fun aesthetic to your outdoor décor.

Don’t be afraid to add a whimsical touch to your outdoor space! A vintage bicycle or a cast concrete statue are great focal points for a porch; accessorize with florals for a unique vignette.

From topiaries to tablescapes, we’ve got a 6,000 sq ft gallery full of unique ideas and inspiration for spring! There’s something new to see every week; come in and let us help you put together a look for your home.

My best,

Michael Taylor and Company

Blue Willow Dinnerware

Blue Willow Plate
Blue Willow Dinnerware

The Legend

First offered nearly 200 years ago by a famous English maker of fine china, Blue Willow is still the most popular pattern to ever appear on dinnerware.

The popularity of the pattern has not faded with time or lifestyle changes as fashions and fads usually do. Blue Willow is as collectable today as ever and is still predominantly made in England.

The legend goes that once there lived a wealthy Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter named Hong Shee who fell in love with her fathers secretary, a gentleman named Chang. To keep the lovers apart, the father imprisoned his daughter in the palace. One day she was finally able to escape and meet her lover. The two happy lovers raced over the bridge to a waiting boat. They managed somehow to elude the Mandarin, reach the boat and sail away.

As they sailed, a storm came along, the boat foundered, and the couple were lost at sea.

It is said that two lovebirds appeared immediately thereafter, the spirits of Hong Shee and Chang, and live on to this day.